Action Zones 

From the Rectory April 2019

SIMON WARD 12-2018as published in Great Yarmouth Parish Life


Rev Canon Simon Ward 


You can tell an awful lot about a conversation even if you can’t hear what is actually being said. I can often hear people talking as they walk down the alleyway beside my house and you can catch the gist of the conversation. Maybe one person is talking and they sound really annoyed and the other person is sympathetically supporting them through whatever situation has befallen them. Perhaps another conversation tells me that two people are excited and happy as they share banter which makes them laugh; maybe they’re on their way to a night out having had a couple of drinks to get the evening started. Joy or pain are easily picked out from the hum of words
The words are not clear but the emotions of the conversation are obvious. It’s reminiscent of the short film entitled “Rhubarb” by Eric Sykes and Harry Secombe, if you ever saw it. I sometimes used it when I taught drama. The dialogue consisted entirely of repetitions of the word "rhubarb" and all the characters last names were "Rhubarb”. If you have not seen it you may think it sounds utterly tedious and you may have a point. However, it makes a clear point about the words being less important than the expressions. The smile, looks of horror, shaking fists of annoyance, hysterical laughter all speak plainly. Anger, mirth, sorrow, surprise, or pain: the story is clear
Through these weeks of April in church we will rehear plenty of words from the events of Passiontide and Holy Week. Lots of words which are familiar but, also, lots of gestures and actions. Crowds joyfully wave palm branches; angry fists are shaken and hands are washed; bread is broken and a cup of wine is blessed; feet are washed and at the end, nails are driven in to outstretched hands. Each of these expressions, and many more, speak to us profoundly of Christ’s love and agony
Then we will come to the joy of Easter and the outpouring of joy with which we greet the resurrection. More words and more gestures and actions follow as the risen Christ comes to speak his blessings of peace to troubled hearts and minds. The disciples who were so full of fear that they ran and hid, in time become emboldened to go out and proclaim these blessings of peace to the world. That is the transformational message of Easter
This is a wonderful time in church with so many moving and deep acts of worship and devotion. We retell the words but expressions and actions play a part too. I do hope to see you over Easter and do bring others to see and hear the good news we proclaim. And my prayer is that when we encounter the power of the resurrection that there is something in our expressions and behaviour which speak louder than words

with Easter Blessings
Fr Simon


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Derek Mill (Guest) 16/04/2019 12:07
I watched "Rhubarb". Great fun, though I thought some of the theology a bit iffy! Lol Thanks.